Without the name of a popular logo on it, sometimes your product may not get noticed. It is not as easy to build your brand alone, than it is with a cooperate partner who spends Millions of dollars marketing their brand. Obtaining licenses from both major leagues, as well as from universities has proved to be a great starting point for many entrepreneurs including me. There's a big difference between licensed products and promotional materials. Licensed products are items that people will pay money for, not simply accept as free giveaways. Therefore, your product needs to be targeted at a specific demographic that will pay top dollar to own it. And you'll want to obtain a license that you can tie in to that demographic's lifestyle. Obtaining a license linked to a brand, TV series, or sports is preferable--that's the route to go. I have had a lot of success from this simple concept.
My company Flex Watches decided we wanted to put sports teams' and Athletes names on our products. Once I went through the process of licensing different brand names and sports teams with Daymond John, I quickly learned the biggest factor to a successful licensing campaign was distribution and sales.
The next step was getting the product into appropriate retail outlets. My intiial approach was unconventional in that we had no distribution plan before securing licenses. Under normal circumstances, a licensor will not grant a license to a business that does not have a retail distribution network in place. I had to rely on proving my product when approaching licensors-specifically, the account manager for licensing at each organization.
As Daymond told me, you must be prepared to demonstrate that you have done your research, that you have the financial capabilities to make the product a success, and that you have a marketing plan to sell the product at retail. Selling in retail outlets isn't the only option. You can also sell your licensed product on your own e-commerce site. Keep in mind, you want your licensed product to not only sell, but also be worthy of selling at a premium. There's a royalty to be paid, and you need to recoup the costs. Speaking of royalties, get a good handle on them. You commonly have both an advance royalty, which is a flat fee paid upfront, and ongoing royalties, which are paid as a percentage of every sale you make.
To make the licensing process easier, you can always employ the services of a licensing agent like myself. The idea is to position your products as the ones consumers associate with their identity, and it won't be long before they'll have to buy what you're selling. Seems pretty easy right?